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Huge blow for Connacht as Heenan out for most of season

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Connacht's Jake Heenan

Connacht's Jake Heenan

Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

Connacht's Jake Heenan

Connacht have been rocked by a massive double injury low with news that flanker Jake Heenan and hooker Sean Henry are both expected to miss most of the season.

Heenan missed the last four months of last season with a dislocated shoulder and is now expected to be out for the next four to five months with a recurrence of the same injury, sustained in his first competitive action back against Dragons.

Henry also missed the second half of last season after he underwent surgery on a neck disc injury, and looks set to be ruled out for the rest of the season because of a suspected cruciate ligament knee injury sustained in a collapsed scrum.

The Sligo native was due to undergo a scan last night, but according to Pat Lam the early signs were that he had indeed ruptured his ACL in Friday's win against Edinburgh - just his second game back.

Both injuries expose the lack of depth in their squad. Willie Faloon is now the only fit natural openside flanker in the squad, while hooker Jason Harris-Wright's injury and the late arrival of new signing Tom McCartney may see Lam turn to academy player Jack Dineen for cover.

Surgery

"Jake is scheduled for surgery on Wednesday and he will be out for around four to five months so it is a big loss for us," said Lam.

"We saw last year, young Eoghan Masterson had to come out (of the academy) early and play out of position. We will have to cover with the older guys like we did last week with Eoin McKeon and John Muldoon.

"Cover for the hooker position at the moment is Jack Dineen - he is at year one in the academy - and Shane Delahunt, who is only in the sub-academy. Both of them are young boys - with Tom McCartney, Jason Harris-Wright and Sean not available it is a big blow," Lam said.

Winger Danie Poolman also suffered a blow to the head against Edinburgh and he will be unavailable for the game against Leinster.

Connacht go into that clash on the back of two good victories over Dragons and Edinburgh as they bid to put Leinster to the sword for the first time since dishing out a 34-6 hammering to them at the Sportsground two years ago.

Lam will have to wait until November before he has his three big summer signings at his disposal and the key for him is to stay in contention until he can unleash Mils Muliaina, McCartney and Bundee Aki.

But he knows Leinster will be buoyed by their easy win over Scarlets as they come to what should be a packed Sportsground on Friday night looking for their first away win of the campaign.

Irish Independent